After my very first client meeting, as we left the building, my new boss turned to me and said ‘What just happened?’

So I told him. He said ‘Ok so what?’

I was a little confused at this point as to whether this was some kind of test or he just hadn’t been paying attention.

So I attempted to answer that question. He then said ‘Right, now what?’

Short of getting coffee and going back to the office, I wasn’t really sure what he meant.

Initially, I thought he must have completely zoned out of the meeting we’d just had, but he then explained to me that this is actually a really useful three question tool to debrief a meeting and synthesise your next steps.

All too often meetings are unfocused and we emerge without clear action points or specific outcomes of the session. Sometimes, we’re not even really sure what the meeting was about, and let’s not forget the notorious ‘could have been an email’ meeting.

A simple tool like this can really help maximise the efficiency and outcomes of a meeting and the next steps. Let’s have a look in more detail. 

What Just Happened?

Literally, what were you just doing? What was the meeting about – what was the goal? Who said what? What was the project and what was the main themes that came out of the session?

So What?

The project is now off the ground and we’ve assigned roles, we know who is doing what and when. We also now have clarity over X and Y and a way to move forward with Z. So, what does this mean for the project or the client as a whole? This then sets you up for the next question, which is…

Now What?

This is where you action plan for the future. This can be as simple as saying ‘I can now send that email’ or sign off a client. It can also be used when starting up with a new client or useful when solving much bigger issues, to provide solid steps forward.

Concrete action points are vital to driving any project forward, however small. As is understanding what happened in the meeting you just had.

It sounds simple, but give it a go.

What? So What? Now What?